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MADRAS SIGHTSEEING

 

Madras, India's fourth-largest city, is the capital of Tamil Nadu state. Fort St George and St Mary's Church : It was built in 1653 by the East India Company. Now, it houses the Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly. The Fort Museum, open from 10 am to 5 pm but closed on Fridays, has a fascinating collection of memorabilia. Upstairs is the banqueting hall, built in 1802, around the walls of which hang many paintings of Fort St George's governors and other high officials of the British regime. Just south of the museum is the pay accounts office. St Mary's Church, built in 1678-80, was the first English Church and the oldest surviving British construction in India. There are reminders in the Church of Robert Clive. North of the fort is the old 1844 light house. High Court Building : This red Indo-Saracenic monaster at Parry's Corner is the main landmark in George Town. It is said to be the largest judicial building in the world after the Courts of London. Court No.13 has the finest furniture and decor. Kapaleeshwara Temple : Off Kutchery Rd, in the southern part of the city, this ancient Siva temple has a typical Dravidian gopuram. San Thome Cathedral : Near Kapaleeshwara Temple at the southern end of South Beach Rd, close to the seafront, this Roman Catholic church is said to house the remains of St Thomas the Apostle ( Doubting Thomas). Parathasarathy Temple : On Triplicane High Road, this temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna.


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Government Museum and Art Gallery : This museum and gallery is on Pantheon Rd, near Egmore Station. The most interesting part of the museum are the archaeological section and the bronze gallery. The archaeological section has an excellent collection of pieces from all the major south Indian periods including Chola, Vijaynagar, Hoysala and Chalukya. There is also a good zoology section. The bronze gallery has some fine examples of Chola bronze art. The museum and gallery are opened daily, except on public holidays, between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm. Entrance is Rs. 0.50 and the ticket includes entry to the bronze gallery. Marina and Aquarium : The sandy stretch of beach known as the Marina extends for 13 km, as far south as the San Thome Cathedral. This beach is supposed to be the longest in the world. The aquarium, on the seafront near the junction of Pycroft's Rd and South Beach Rd, is open daily between 2 and 8 pm, except on Sundays and holidays when it is open from 8 am. Entrance cost Rs. 0.50. Near the aquarium is the 'ice house'. Guindy Deer and Snake Parks : Close Raj Bhavan at Guindy, on southern outskirts of Madras, this is the only place where it is possible to see large numbers of the fast-dwindling species of Indian antelope (black buck). It also has small numbers of spotted deer, civet cats, jackals, mongoose and various species of monkeys. The reptile house is open daily between 9 am to 5.30 pm and entrance costs Rs. 50.


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Festivals : From the end of November until the second week of January, Madras is host to a Carnatic classical dance and music festival. Performances are held at various music academies.


MADRAS SHOPPING

 

The stalls which clutter the footpaths in both Mount Rd and around Parry's Corner are excellent places to pick up cheap 'export reject' clothes. There are similar stalls lining Gandhi Irwin Rd in front of Egmore station. They specialise in T-shirts with logos. There are also a lot of stalls selling watches and electronic goods. There is a whole range of craft shops and various government emporia along Mount Rd near the tourist office.


MADRAS - GETTIMG THERE AND AWAY

 

GETTING THERE AND AWAY AIR Madras is an international arrival point for India as well as an important domestic airport. There are flights from Singapore (Singapore Airlines, Air India and Indian Airlines), Penang and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysian Airlines), Colombo(Air Lanka and Indian Airlines), Male (Indian Airlines), and London (British Airways). Indian Airlines also operate on the international routes to Sri Lanka (Colombo), Maldives (Male) and Singapore. Vayudoot has flights from Madras to Bangalore, Kochi, Hyderabad, Tirupathi and Pondicherry. BUS The Tamil Nadu state bus company is called thiruvalluvar, and the bus station is on the Esplanade in Geofge Town, around the back of High Court building. This is also known as the Express bus stand, and all interstate buses leave from here. The Tamil Nadu state bus stand is on the other side of Popham's Broadway. There are also a number of private bus companies which have their offices mainly in the Egmore area. They all run superdeluxe video buses on a daily basis to major centre of population such as Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai and Trichy. TRAIN The Ganga Kaveri Express connects Madras and Varanasi. The 2147-km journey takes 38.5 hours. The Bombay, Calcutta and Delhi trains all depart from Madras Central Station.


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The daily Cochin Express runs from Central to Ernakulam - a 708-km trip taking 14 hours. To Trivandrum, The Trivandrum Mail is the quickest over the 925 km. From Egmore there are a number of daily trains to Trichy. The most convenient overnight train is the Rameswaram Express which covers the 401 in 10 hours. There are also trains from Egmore to Cjidambaram and Tanjavur.


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